Monthly ArchiveOctober 2010

Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Healthcare 18 Oct 2010 04:22 pm

“Think Before You Pink”

When I was diagnosed 21 years ago with breast cancer the activist within me was ignited. I was shocked that my world was not more aware of this insidious disease that in 1989 1 in 9 was the rate of this disease.

I worked tirelessly with all types of organizations, several in the San Francisco Bay Area as that seemed to be the place where the most noise about the disease was being made. Pat Anstett of the Detroit Free Press introduced me to Elenor Pred, founder of Breast Cancer Action, one of the first activist groups in the country.

My plastic surgeon and I developed hangtags that described how to do breast self-exam (BSE). We contacted bra manufacturers and were told by all that they did not want to alarm women that they might get breast cancer.

Then came the Pink Ribbon and then Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Astra Zeneca the manufacturer of Tamoxifen an estrogen-blocking drug that is routinely prescribed for women post-treatment started Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Astra Zeneca is also the largest producer of PCB’s and Agent Orange.

It is now October and I am surrounded by a sea of pink. There are pink shoes for the football teams, pink pens, purses and even pink rubber duckies. It goes on and on.

I’m certainly happy that the awareness has increased but I question the motives of the “cause marketing.” There should be more transparency and more accountability by the companies that are running their campaigns for breast cancer. Where is the money going? Are they gaining more profits by the sympathetic well-meaning public’s purchase of their products? Consumers need to be encouraged to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions

Some interesting postings on Wikipedia:
Business marketing campaigns, particularly sales promotions for products that increase pollution, have been condemned as pinkwashing (a portmanteau of pink ribbon and whitewash). Such promotions generally result in a token donation to a breast cancer-related charity, while exploiting the consumers’ fear of cancer and grief for people who have died to drive sales.
San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Action has renamed the annual awareness campaign “Breast Cancer Industry Month” to emphasize the costs of treatment. Their “Think Before You Pink” campaign urges people to “do something besides shop.” After explaining that some “pink” sponsors are polluting industrial giants or spend more money on breast cancer-themed advertisements than they actually donate towards research or treatment, BCA asks consumers to reflect thoughtfully on questions like, “How much money was spent marketing the product?” or “What is the company doing to assure that its products are not contributing to the breast cancer epidemic?” This group has particularly excoriated major cosmetic companies such as Avon, Revlon, and Estée Lauder, which have claimed to promote women’s health while simultaneously using known and/or suspected cancer-causing chemicals, such as parabens and phthalates in their products.
I just want to urge people to be cautious and to be looking at and supporting the prevention of this disease whose rates are now 1 in 8.

Public Relations Tools 06 Oct 2010 02:37 pm

Guidelines for Great Networking

Nowadays, everyone is familiar with the phrase “It’s not what you know, but who you know”. In today’s business world, networking has become the key to success whether your goal is finding a new job or obtaining new business prospects. But networking isn’t just about knowing someone. To truly be able to utilize a contact you must learn to build a relationship with that person. Here are some networking-building guidelines to keep in mind:

•Start thinking about networking long before you begin your job search. When you meet someone new, try to find out where they work, how they got their job and where possible opportunities might be within the company.

•Networking is not something that can be accomplished overnight. Develop a strategy and set goals for yourself. Decide how many contacts you want to make and target people in fields that interest you. A great way to meet potential employers is through after-work events such as chamber of commerce programs, local business functions, fundraisers, volunteer events, conferences and trade shows. Try to research as much information as possible on the event attendees and bring business cards.

•Once you make a connection, plan out when you’ll contact the person and what the method of contact will be (a telephone conversation, e-mail, lunch, etc.). Follow-up and be consistent. If you have lunch with someone, shoot them a quick e-mail afterward thanking them.

•Don’t underestimate the power of online networking. Meeting contacts online can be very beneficial if you make sure to keep in touch with them. Posting pertinent information or suggesting content and ideas can help get you noticed.

•There’s no telling where a new connection could lead. Networking provides you with the benefit of building a contact base with a variety of perspectives, ideas and advice. Even if your new contact doesn’t lead you to a job opportunity, you may be able to use your connection to gather more insight or information for a project or gain access to useful resources. From a business standpoint, networking can provide you with new sales leads, potential partnerships, opportunities for market expansion and a direct connection with your consumers.

Networking is a skill that takes time and commitment. It’s a way to develop and market your very own personal brand. Remember, as you are building your own network, other people are forming their own connections. By simply adding one person to your network you can become connected hundreds of others. Once you begin networking and building your reputation, you may find that you have become the person that people want to connect with.

Ashley Smith